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Pollo a la Catalana + Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2019 #WorldWineTravel

 
This year a fourth wine blogging group was formed by Jeff of Food Wine Click! and we will be doing a deep dive into the wines of Spain in 2021. January had us looking at Rioja; you can read my article - with the links to everyone else - here. And this month, Susannah of Avvinare is hosting as we head to Catalunya.

All of these posts will be live by Saturday, February 27th when we'll be meeting for a live Twitter chat at 8am Pacific. Follow along with the hashtag  #WorldWineTravel and be sure to add that to any tweets you posts so we can see them. Here's the #WorldWineTravel Catalunya line-up...



As we are approaching a year of living in this pandemic, we haven't traveled much at all. One brief exception was when we went to visit my in-laws during Fall Break last October. It was a welcome respite from being sheltered-in-place and I celebrated by cooking dinners for the family every night. It was a nice way to spend time with my younger Kitchen Elf and my niece who is the same age. We cranked up the music or just chatted while we prepped and prepared dinner for about a dozen people everyday. It's always a treat to have the run of a commercial kitchen, right?

And being the serial planner that I am, I carried up a bunch of wines and knocked out pairings for several of my wine groups. So, one evening, we took a virtual trip to Catalunya and I served Pollo a la Catalana + Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2019.

Catalunya
map from vineyards.com

Catalunya is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP) for Catalan wine that was formed and recognized in 2001. Its purpose: support over two hundred wineries (bodegas) that were not included in other specific DOPs in Catalonia. Interestingly enough it isn't tied to a specific geographical location but instead is comprised of nearly 20 square miles of individual vineyards from all over Catalonia. Catalunya does allow winemakers to mix in grapes from other DOPs.

The bottle that I tracked down for this event was the 2019 Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat. Priorat is a tiny wine-producing region that is comprised almost completely of craggy, terraced vineyards. Until the early 1990s it was virtually abandoned. Then René Barbier arrived and set about revitalizing the region. With a base in the village of Gratallops, they aimed to revive the ancient vines and cultivate some new French grape varieties.

Because the new vines were well-recognized - think Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot - and the quality of the wines they were producing was high, Priorat is enjoying a renaissance. By the turn of the millennium, the area's vineyards had already doubled.

In the Glass

In 2015 Alvaro Palacios was named 'Man of the Year' by Decanter magazine. Though Palacios descends from the Rioja's Palacios Remondo family, he left Spain in his early 20s to work and study winemaking elsewhere, namely Bordeaux. But he returned to Spain and was drawn to highlighting traditional grape varieties such as Garnacha and Cariñena.

This wine is a blend comprised of 35% Garnacha, 24% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cariñena, 10% Merlot, and 3% other varieties. The grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed before being fermented in a combination of stainless steel, oak, and concrete tanks. After fermentation, the wine was left to mature in oak barrels for another four months.

The wine poured an inky purple. To the nose, aromas were savory with hints of fennel and balsamic. And on the palate those aromas were mirrored with more licorice and spice. This wine was intense but approachable and elegant. 

On the Plate

For these #WorldWineTravel events I am going to try to post pairings with food that hails from the same region, or at least inspired from the region. You have probably heard the adage: what grows together, goes together. Pollo a la Catalana, Catalan-style chicken, is a warming dish that's great in the Fall. Chicken is browned, then braised in a sauce of onions, tomatoes, and wine with prunes and raisins. It's so delicious. 

I did add in some ground Spanish chorizo from local-to-me PigWizard for even more flavor, but that is not traditional. And the photos - large pots and trays - were for fifteen or sixteen people. The recipe and quantities below serve six.

Ingredients serves 6

  • 1 cup prunes, pitted
  • 1 cup raisins 
  • warm water
  • 1/2 pound ground chorizo
  • 3-1/2 pounds chicken, cut into pieces if whole (we used leg quarters)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika (we used smoked paprika)
  • 1 cup onions, peeled and chopped (we used a red onion)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (we used can)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil plus more as needed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (traditional is pine nuts, but I used what we had)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Procedure

Place prunes and raisins in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let soak for at least 2 hours. Drain and set aside.


Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large pot and cook the chorizo until done. Add in remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil and place chicken legs in the same pot and sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.


Add in the onions, celery, diced tomatoes. Pour in the chicken stock and wine.


Bring liquid to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let chicken braise for 60 minutes. Sir in the almonds and the soaked fruit. Let simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot and place the pieces on a serving platter or tray. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil and cook until thickened to your desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed.


To serve, place chicken on individual serving plates and spoon thickened sauce over the top.


Serve with rice or bread on the side.

That's a wrap for our virtual trip to Catalunya with the #WorldWineTravel group. We'll be back next month with an exploration of wines of Castilla y Leon with Allison of Advinetures leading the discussion. Stay tuned....

Comments

  1. I have this same bottle in my wine fridge right now. I ordered it for this month, having forgotten that I had opened from Catalunya over the holidays LOL.....I'm looking forward to having it based on your review.

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    Replies
    1. I really enjoyed that wine...and the family time, too.

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  2. What an interesting blend that wine is! What do you think the various fermentation methods used added to the final blend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great question. I mean, I think we all know that the different fermentation vessels affect flavor. So, I'm guessing that it's just MORE of that. I don't know. I just found it an interesting tidbit.

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  3. Look at you go in that kitchen, I'd say a treat! The fennel, licorice and spice on the wine was probably delightful with the dish. Prunes, almonds and smoked paprika... yes truth to that adage!

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  4. We are big fans of spanish wines and have visited northern Spain twice. We have yet to get to this region and Priorat is definitely a place we want to visit in person. As for your food pairing, you can probably drop the mic now ;)

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  5. That dish looks amazing. I would not have thought to put raisins and prunes into a dish, but the minute you mentioned it I thought "Wow, that would be really good!"
    I love the idea of multiple fermentation types. Each I think brings something to the wine. Lately I am especially enjoying wines fermented in cement, so I think the blend would be lovely adding to the texture of the wine.
    (I'm also glad to finally know your secret for getting so far ahead! You are a serial-planner!)

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    Replies
    1. My secret is out! Yes, I am a serial planner. We were there for a week and I knocked out more than five assigned pairings for this year. ;)

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  6. I love the idea of using dishes original to the area. I may have to consider that as well. I am loving our exploration of Spain!

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  7. Your chicken looks amazing! And I have to say, I think Camins is one of the bast value Priorats around. YUM all around!

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  8. Love this wine, what a terrific value from Priorat! We struggled to pick one from our cellar... it was finally between this and the Laurel.

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  9. I've been looking for recs on Priorat wines and this one sounds like a winner! I will definitely be cooking this chicken - in my wheelhouse, especially with the prunes. Yum!

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  10. Your Pollo a la Catalana looks and sounds amazing Cam! I need to try this!

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  11. Can I hire you to come cook for me for a few days?? Your dishes are always so inspired!!

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  12. Looks delish! I've gotten a similar package of ground chorizo and I've been wondering what to do with it...some inspiration here!

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